Wrigley Field is a little over a mile north of where I live, close enough that on summer nights when the “Friendly Confines” hosts a concert (August saw both Billy Joel and Pearl Jam), familiar ballads fill the courtyard of my prewar walk-up, prompting tenants to abruptly open, or close, their windows. Technically I don’t live in the same neighborhood as the Cubs—that would be Wrigleyville, the residential enclave surrounding the 102-year-old park—but for more years than most Chicagoans care to think, a steadfast devotion to the team has had a way of uniting the various neighborhoods on the North Side in a shared community of suffering.
In the seventies, when the team consistently flirted with the worst record in baseball, the Cubs earned the nickname the “Loveable Losers.” The qualifier is a tribute to the loyalty of the fans, but it hardly redeems the category. Say what you will about history, tradition, and heroic team players—and the Cubs have all three in abundance—this is still sports, and sports is about winning. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. They have not even gone to the World Series since 1945. When Saturday night began, these records remained, though it looked as if, at long last, at least one of them might finally be broken. Read More